What Screws to Use on Wood Fencing

Rich Finzer

A well-built wooden fence can add beauty, value and security to your property. If you have already decided to assemble your fence using screws, you have made a wise choice. Screws are easy to remove and reuse if a plank or rail requires replacement some time later.

The screws you use to attach the fencing may be dependent upon the type of wood the fence is made of as well as your geographical location.

Pressure-Treated Wood

If you are planking your fence with pressure-treated wood, you should consider using "green" epoxy coated screws. The epoxy coating protects the shank from corrosion caused by the chemicals used in pressure-treated lumber. They are available in either square drive or Phillips head types. They are also manufactured in a variety of lengths and diameters. While they are commonly known as "deck" screws, they will work just as well for attaching fence planks and rails.

Untreated Wood

If your fence will be planked with an untreated wood variety such as cedar or redwood, you could use galvanized screws. The zinc coating on galvanized screws helps prevent them from rusting and staining or discoloring you fence planks. Like the "green" screws mentioned previously, galvanized screws can be purchased at most hardware or home improvement stores. They are sold in one-, five-, or twenty-five-pound boxes. If your project is relatively small, you might consider buying several one-pound boxes. If you don't need all of them, you can return any unopened packages and save a little money.

Near the Ocean

If your fence is being built in a seaside location, you may wish to use silicon bronze screws. This metal alloy is extremely resistant to salt corrosion and rust. This is the same type of fasteners many wooden boat builders use. Compared to galvanized steel screws, silicon bronze screws are quite expensive but have a longer useful life.

Lag Screws

If your fencing is tall and the planking is heavy, you may need to install three sets of fence rails. For this application, lag screws might be the best option. They have tremendous holding power. Unlike regular screws, lag screws have a hexagonal head and are driven with a wrench. Lag screws are available in a variety of metal types including uncoated steel, galvanized, stainless steel, or silicon bronze.